Give us real answers, please

By Postie Editors

Every issue addressed at last week’s GOP presidential debate related to one exclusive topic: Money.

A main concern for students who are looking at colleges, working their way through or preparing for graduation has always been the cost, and in effect, the amount of debt they will face after graduation.

Since a recent Republican primary debate was held on Oakland’s campus, a strong focus and point of interest in the candidates related to this idea and how our potential president will handle the crisis of a near $1 trillion student loan debt.

Although all of the candidates are aware of the problem — and made that clear — we are still waiting to hear how it will be solved.

Congressman Ron Paul presented a plan that would effectively eliminate loan programs and the Department of Education while providing tax credits. Paul hinges this plan on the idea that if there is competition for schooling, quality would rise and costs would fall.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is pulling for more interesting ideas that will push the “outdated boundaries of education.”

Gingrich proposed the idea of using the model set forth by work-study colleges. Students would work on campus 20 hours a week to pay for books and tuition, then 40 hours in the summer to cover room and board.

Mitt Romney, who is currently the frontrunner in this race, has no specific plan to target the problem.

No candidates aside from Gingrich and Paul tout any solutions for making higher education affordable.

That’s all fine, but how do we get there from here? What happens to us, who are already in the debt pool? And how do we implement a plan when we still lack the actual means for progress?

We don’t mind if candidates like Paul believe the federal student loan program is a failure and believe the program — or even the Department of Educa-

tion — must be eliminated, but a solution must be presented in order to replace these current programs.

Gingrich said during the debate that to move to a workstudy model would be a culture shock to students entering college, because they would be expected to work for their education, study, graduate quickly and “do the right thing for four years.”

What is it he thinks we’re all trying to do now?

We’ve met myriad students on campus who work several jobs in addition to taking classes full time (12 credit hours), balancing families, friends and extracurricular activities.

The fact of the matter is that education is far too expensive forustokeepupwithanda solid solution has not been proposed by candidates.

If we eliminate loans completely, as per Paul’s plan, how long will it take for the education market to fall to a cost students can afford following their high school graduation?

How many work-study posi-

tions would have to be created if we choose to go with Gingrich’s plan? It seems implausible that all 19,000-plus students currently attending OU would have an on-campus job to support them.

The College of the Ozarks, which Gingrich referenced does run on that system, but the school in Missouri has a student population of about 1,600.

Will there be time for students to hold internships and have work experiences pertinent to their desired field of study?

There are so many questions but only a limited number of open-ended answers.

Though Gingrich and Paul were the ones standing in the O’Rena last Wednesday, we won’t stand any longer for politicians from both sides of the aisle talking about much-needed change in Washington while not proposing much else that is new or different and further ignoring ways to cut down the cost of higher education.

There needs to be change. Now.